The only pursuit that matters
And I felt something changing the world
Like a new constitution
A thief I would have to pursue
At all times
At all costs
- From the new song, Cartoon Blues, by Bright Eyes
That's it. This is what the great philosophers were talking about since Plato. This is what the great artists, poets, writers, and musicians are constantly trying to express. Do we choose to pursue the sometimes brilliant and sometimes monstrous truth, or do we remain in the dark, cold, empty caves of half-truth and lies?
Do you respect truth above all else, or not? Are you strong enough? The boldest and most authentic choice I've ever made in my life is to answer yes to this question. I'm not claiming to possess truth. I claim only to pursue it! It is the roadmap to my life, my only religion. And in the precise moment I became conscious of the concept, and internalized it, I initiated a process which never ends.
The pursuit of truth is a bold choice that leads us to the extremes of bliss and the gutters of agony -- sometimes in the very same day. And yet the reality isn't even this two-dimensional, because hovering all around our personal experience of bliss and agony we also hear the sound of life on earth being destroyed; minds being polluted with propaganda; human beings being kept in slave or near-slave conditions through the oppressor of economics. In the back of our minds we hear the causes and movements which we believe in begging for us to pitch in; we hear our souls screaming about the way we hurt or neglect a family member; we feel the fear of a loved one who is seriously ill; the frustration and despair of old age choking us. We try to forget both the lies we've told which have hurt others and also the truths we've told that have hurt others. Then, in another moment, we might hear the waves of the ocean, the laughter of a naked young woman emerging from the waves, and the smell of the sand just after sunset. All of these fragments, times a thousand, are bouncing around our minds and bodies during both wake and sleep.
We are life becoming the instrument of evolution chasing its own truth. We don't choke it or stop its flow with distractions; watching sports, buying too many clothes, worrying about being able to afford a car, being cool. We allow our minds and bodies to be the instrument of truth, and by doing so we make the most of this life while also giving our existence meaning.
Yet somehow, we still get up on time, make it to work on time, shake a few hands, and do whatever it takes to function. It isn't that we can live every action according to truth. There are simply too many truths competing at any one time to know which one to act in accordance with. That is why I will make the surely controversial claim that, what is even more important than one's action, is one's thoughts. Are you keeping your mind locked on truth at all costs? Are you allowing the ideas that emerge from your mouth, paint brush, instrument, or keyboard to reflect your pursuit of truth whenever possible? Are you at least aware of those moments when you compromise one truth for another? Are you struggling in that decision in an authentic way or just lying to yourself and others?
How is it possible that, in the midst of all this, we learn to not just be ok...but to live life as though we are making love to it.
That's the pursuit of truth.